IaaS is the abbreviation given to Infrastructure as a Service, although it is sometimes referred to as Hardware as a Service. It is a type of cloud computing which provides virtualised services to businesses over the Internet.
In IaaS, a third party cloud provider hosts essential infrastructure components such as hardware, servers, cabling, storage and backups on the behalf of its customers. A business such as a law firm will simply need to prepare desktops, laptops or even mobile devices and then use an Internet connection to access their own legal software applications which are hosted on hardware provided by your choice of IaaS cloud provider.
IaaS In Chambers
There are many benefits for legal firms who decide to go down the IaaS route. Having a third party provider host an infrastructure can save a great deal of money for Chambers, who are often already paying out expensive monthly rental fees to be based in the heart of London’s legal district. Barristers who choose to remove parts or all of the infrastructure from their Chambers can benefit from more office space. They can also radically reduce the cost of their IT overheads as they will require less onsite tech support. IaaS hardware is fully maintained by the provider whose own tech staff will be responsible for carrying out tasks such as system maintenance, backups and resiliency planning.
IaaS is also an extremely flexible solution for your Chambers operations. You can increase or reduce your staff count easily using IaaS, as the service is entirely scalable. Policy-based desktops mean that the cloud-based infrastructure will roll out permissions to your user desktops depending on the level of authority you choose to assign to them.
IaaS is also the perfect solution for lawyers who are on the move. Whether your legal team needs to access documents and applications from home, on the train, at court or at a client’s premises, so long as they have access to an Internet connection, then they will be able to log-in to your IaaS services.
Cloud-based IaaS makes it easy if you decide to move your Chambers premises. You will have much less in terms of IT equipment to move. Your main servers and other critical hardware such as UPS systems will be housed offsite with your IaaS provider, where they will remain during your relocation.
On Demand Adjustments
IaaS is usually paid for on an hourly, weekly or monthly basis. Therefore, if you do need to adjust your services, for instance to acquire some extra disk space to store your client files, then you can easily add it into your contract and begin paying for your new arrangement immediately.
Of course, Chambers who wish to utilise the services of IaaS must be aware of the legal considerations of using cloud based platforms. Client information is an extremely sensitive and confidential type of data that must not be compromised. You must investigate the security measures that your IaaS provider have in place to ensure that they are sufficient for your business. Your Chambers reputation is at stake if there is a security breach of your cloud computing provider and you will also likely be subject to significant penalties imposed by the Information Commissioner. The penalty fee can be as high as £500,000 and is not usually covered by your professional indemnity insurance cover.
The physical location of your cloud computing provider is also an important factor if you store data remotely on their IaaS servers. The current Data Protection Act prohibits personal data from being transferred outside of the European Economic Area unless they have acceptable security measures of their own that comply with current EU Data Protection laws. Chambers should conduct due diligence to ensure that the transfer and storage of sensitive client data sufficiently complies with these regulations.
It is also worth encrypting your IaaS data so that your cloud service provider isn’t able to access the information that is located on their servers. Some hosts will incorporate inbuilt encryption services into their packages, but it is usually best to use trusted standards such as Windows or Mac’s own encryption features.
We are industry experts in providing cloud computing solutions to Chambers. Our company can assist you in your move to an IaaS cloud platform and ensure that your client data is kept secure so that there is no possibility of a breach in confidentiality. Want to know more about how IaaS could benefit your law firm? Call us today for more information.